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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: December ::
Dramatis personae
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.2327  Wednesday, 10 December 2003

[1]     From:   Bill Arnold <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 9 Dec 2003 08:08:07 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.2314 Dramatis personae

[2]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 9 Dec 2003 21:40:13 -0800
        Subj:   RE: SHK 14.2314 Dramatis personae

[3]     From:   Rolland Banker <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 9 Dec 2003 23:10:19 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Dramatis Personae


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bill Arnold <
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Date:           Tuesday, 9 Dec 2003 08:08:07 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 14.2314 Dramatis personae
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.2314 Dramatis personae

Terence Hawkes writes, "It is evidently necessary to remind colleagues
that rule number 22, governing readings of Hamlet, provides a) that
whenever Claudius utters the word 'son', it is to be understood that he
means 'stepson'.  b) that whenever Claudius utters the word 'father' in
connection with himself, it is to be understood that he means 'uncle'.
Failure to observe these provisions may result in the offender being
branded 'fanciful'. God is not mocked."

Wasn't it Englishman A. E. Housman the cynic-author of "A Shropshire
Lad" who wrote, "Terence, this is stupid stuff"?

Bill Arnold
http://www.cwru.edu/affil/edis/scholars/arnold.htm

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Tuesday, 9 Dec 2003 21:40:13 -0800
Subject: 14.2314 Dramatis personae
Comment:        RE: SHK 14.2314 Dramatis personae

Terence Hawkes writes,

It is evidently necessary to remind colleagues that rule number 22,
governing readings of Hamlet, provides

a) that whenever Claudius utters the word 'son', it is to be understood
that he means 'stepson'.

b) that whenever Claudius utters the word 'father' in connection with
himself, it is to be understood that he means 'uncle'.

Failure to observe these provisions may result in the offender being
branded 'fanciful'. God is not mocked.

I'd hate to break what appears to be rule #1, that failure to be
sarcastic may result in the offender being labelled naive, but it
strikes me that (b) should read 'stepfather' for 'uncle', in which case
it doesn't seem an unlikely form of self-appellation.  Both rules have
to apply all the time or never, since Claudius can hardly be Hamlet's
biological father only on odd-numbered days, so the additional proviso
of 'whenever' seems rather besides the point.

In any case, surely Claudius's cloying desire to establish a father/son
relationship implies that such relationships are not merely biological.
Concentration on Hamlet's gene-lines seems to rather obscure interest in
his relationships.

By the way, what happened to the Terence Hawkes who ridicules everyone
who says anything whatsoever about characters as if they were real
people (say, with a mother and a father)?  Somebody should let him know
that an impostor is posting under his name.

Yours,
Sean Lawrence.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Rolland Banker <
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Date:           Tuesday, 9 Dec 2003 23:10:19 -0800 (PST)
Subject:        Dramatis Personae

Paging Bishop Berkeley!  But first for those who are laboring heavily as
in a nutshell during my attempted fusion of reality and the fictive
realms of art and psychology in Hamlet, some of us count ourselves as
kings of infinite [Cyber]space. We fear not derision!

To recap:

Don Bloom says to Bill Arnold: "Dunno, Bill, I have trouble keeping
track of reality as depicted on the front pages of the newspapers, much
less in the inner pages of Shakespeare's alleged texts."

That's why I am here Don. That's why I am here.

A comment from Terence Hawks at the same time as Don Bloom must only
mean that I have finally arrived as a studious reader of Shakespeare and
contributor to the list and will now be taken seriously.

Suggested as Rule 23 of Hamlet readings:  The profoundest mysteries of
Hamlet can all be explained [I suggest using Post Its] but cannot be
easily believed, for belief as used in the Geneva and King James Bibles
comes from the Greek: Pistuoe, a drinking in.  Something like that. No
Greek dictionary at hand sorry. Too lazy for Google today.

Hamlet born to a drinking nation of which he disapproves cannot drink in
or believe, hence truth is an elusive shadow in Denmark, yet he tells
Horatio 'We'll teach you to drink deep ere you depart.' alas, even Plato
attributes truthfulness to wine and children.

In Hamlet, Art triumphs over truthful empirical concrete reality. Ars
gratia artis. We are drinking deep. Deeper than ever before. That is the
"enigma of transcendence" Harold Bloom talks about that takes the play
into the stratosphere. We are drunk on art. Like God we are in and out
of two worlds[or more?], active and/ or dispassionate when necessary,
and viscerally at one with the mind of William Shakespeare. Who can know
the mind of God?

I remain firm in my Harold Bloomian inspired speculations.

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